ABC Cat : Black and White Cat Photo Book Review

Take one cat. Take photographs of the cat over the course of eleven years of its life, assign one photograph for each letter of the alphabet. Publish the collection in an elegant cover made of black velvet.

This is the simple but effective concept behind ABC Cat

As you sit perusing the stunning black and white studies, you will not turn too many pages before your thoughts begin to drift in all sorts of directions. As you hold the soft, very pleasant to touch book, you will unconsciously stroke the cover, just like stroking a cat!

Lorenz Kienzle was born in Munich, Germany, and has had his work exhibited in Berlin, London, Genoa and several other places throughout Europe.

The photographs in this, his first published book, are from his private collection which he accumulated over the years. He used the photographs to make little cat books that he gave each year as a special present to his girlfriend.

In ABC cat Lorenz writes:

One day in the summer of 1992, my girlfriend told me that she would like to have a little cat. I wasn't sure this was a good idea and said to her, "A cat is a big responsibility. You have to look after it for its entire life."

A few days later I found myself traveling across town carrying a small cardboard box filled with an old sweater, looking for an address given in a newspaper ad for kittens. I arrived at a big house with a garden, many children, a dog, and a large black-and-white cat.

The last of the cat's five kittens was staying in a small bathroom, its floor covered with paper. He looked up at me with curiosity and I was sorry to be separating him from his mother. But the kitten didn't seem to mind and jumped right into my cardboard box.

When we arrived back home, I opened the box and said to my girlfriend, "This is a little Kater," which is the German word for a tomcat. The name seemed to suit him and that's what we've called him ever since.

Because my girlfriend was traveling a lot, I began to take pictures of Kater and then put them together to make little stories that she would not miss him too much. There is always a camera handy, so I don't miss anything he does.

Kater is now thirteen years old, and still as happy and sweet natured as the day we first met. His cat door allows him to go into the garden whenever he wants, and he comes back through it bringing mice and lots of dirt into the apartment. So he may not be a big help with the housework, but he is the most precious little being I have ever had.

ABC Cat wins award

2004 Cat Writers Association


Category VII.3 - Photography Series, black & white - Lorenz Kienzle "ABC Cat" Stewart, Tabori & Chang

Judge's comments: "These photos were outstanding and I hope to see more work from him"

If you enjoy the atmospheric charm of black and white photography, and are a cat lover, then the pictures of Kater will enthrall you. And some of the images may momentarily mystify you as your mind takes in what exactly it is that you are seeing.

From A - Z, in one photograph Kater represents Acrobat, in another Edge, in one study the little cat represents Round, right through to Zebra.

The earlier photographs show Kater as a kitten, being a kitten, doing things kittens do. The later photos display the antics of Kater the independent adult cat, being captivating, lazy, aloof, mystifying and very amusing.

This is not one of those gigantic 'coffee table' books, but not one that you will want to hide in the bookshelf either, its striking appearance will make you, and your visitors, pick it up again, and again.


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